Keep it simple and delicious at this ‘hueco’, or hole in the wall restaurant, on San Sebas Plaza

May 16, 2019 | 5 comments

By Sylvester Grahame

The Tienda Cafe, across from San Sebastian Plaza is one of the many cafes in Cuenca with a decidedly family approach to dining. The atmosphere is sunny and bright. What distinguishes Tienda is the understated grace and professional attention in the kitchen. This is honest family-style cooking at its finest.

Chef Isabel Tinoco is expanding the menu. Featured among her new breakfast offerings is a dish that will keep you satiated all day long — a plantain waffle ($4.95) that is as surprising as it is tasty.

Tienda Cafe on San Sebastian Plaza is what is known in Latin America as a “hueco”, or “hole in the wall” in English.

Rather than a foil for maple syrup, or chocolate and strawberries, this is light on calories and bursting with fresh flavor and a crunchy texture devoid of gluten or guilt. An egg and a dollop of avocado dressing completes a healthy and scrumptious beginning to your day.

Those who are late risers often look to the sandwich board for a treat. The modest selection is sufficient for any discerning diner and is prepared either hot or cold,  ($4.90). More ambitious creations include a selection of house-made kombucha for $3 and a changing array of desserts from $2.50 to $4. They all look great and taste like small morsels of powdered sugar cloud-dipped into fresh raised sunlight. Of course, the coffee machine is hissing all day, fomenting excitable milk and pressuring beans to give up their rich, complex flavors.

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Apple pie just like mamma used to make.

Yep, there you have it. Hissing, cajoling, pressuring and complimenting —  just like a family.

Tienda Cafe is a perfect choice for a slice of sweetness in the midst of a busy day or a place to plug in your ‘puter and surf the net for a spell. Cozy and comfortable, the Tienda may well become your home away from home.

Tienda Cafe, Coronel Talbot 8-52 across from San Sebastian plaza; Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Major credit cards are not accepted;  Notes: Restaurant is disabled accessible and family friendly; Facebook

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